The Ripon Forum

Volume 51, No. 6

December 2017

Ripon Profile of Doug Ducey

By on December 8, 2017

…from the September 2017 edition:

Name: Doug Ducey

Occupation: Governor of the State of Arizona (2015 – current)

Previous jobs held: Treasurer, State Of Arizona (2011 – 2015); Chief Executive Offi cer, Cold Stone Creamery (1996 – 2007)

Biggest difference between being an entrepreneur and an officeholder? There are two “CEO rules” in the private sector:  No excuses. No distractions. When you’re running a company, it’s very likely you’ll face problems caused by decisions and circumstances out of your control. Employees and investors expect you to take responsibility and address the.  Too many lifelong politicians respond by saying, “Well, I had nothing to do with this so why should I stick my neck out?” We’re changing that. When I entered office, we were facing a $1 billion hole in the budget. We didn’t complain. We fixed it, and with money to spare. We inherited a funding lawsuit that was threatening our education system. We built a bipartisan coalition, won approval from Arizona voters, and invested $3.5 billion in our teachers, students, and classrooms.  The bottom line: Sometimes it rains. Lifelong politicians look up at the sky and run for cover. Entrepreneurs get an umbrella and keep moving forward.

How about the similarities — how is being a Governor similar to being a CEO?  They’re both incredibly humbling experiences. You’re offered an amazing opportunity, and then you’re held accountable for your choices, either by investors or by voters.  At the end of the day—in both the public and private sectors—you need to deliver results for the people who count on you. I made it clear from day one that one of my goals was to make real improvements to the quality of service that state government provides our constituents, and I think we’ve done that in spades.  It was wonderful working as a CEO. But serving as the governor of the state I love is another level entirely. It is an immense and unbelievable privilege to know that millions of people have entrusted you with making decisions that will affect their future and the future of their families, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

What are your priorities as you move forward in your third year in office? Our priorities will remain the same as they’ve been the past few years, with investments to match: Expanding opportunities, giving a hand-up to our most vulnerable citizens, growing the economy, strengthening public safety, and generally guaranteeing that we have a bright future, especially through education. People outside of Arizona forget how hard our state was hit by the recession. We had to make some very hard choices in order to get our fi nances in order, and we only recently
recovered all of the jobs we lost. Because of that work, the budget I signed in May was able to invest $163 million into K-12 schools above and beyond previous investments. That was the first time in a long time our state was in a position to talk about adding money to education. I’m very proud of that accomplishment—and, as long as we remember the fiscal prudence and long-term thinking that got us here, I’m confident we’ll be able to continue focusing on these priorities with fi nancing to back it up.

Finally, a prediction – how are the Cardinals going to do this year? As a huge Cardinals fan, I’m very excited about this season. Young guys like David Johnson at running back are poised for breakout years. Larry Fitzgerald is hungry for a championship. Carson Palmer is an incredible leader, Michael Bidwill is a terrific owner, and coach Bruce Arians, who’s one of the toughest guys I know, knows what it takes to win. We could see big things from them this year. I’m predicting a 13-3 record, NFC championship, followed by a Super Bowl victory.

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